Because First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

River Supply
Written by Pauline Müller

Sheathing a new building in cladding is about two things – protection and appeal. The design is usually architect-driven, but the final result can only be as good as the fabricator. River Supply brings exceptional technology, experience, and innovation to making first impressions count.

While clean lines and Scandinavian minimalism are the stars of current design trends, exterior cladding is not just a pretty face. Instead, these panels are at best custom-engineered to act as a sophisticated means of protecting buildings against the elements, driving down energy consumption and increasing self-sustaining temperature control within buildings.

And as well as contributing to aesthetics and temperature regulation, quality cladding systems also improve durability by ultimately extending the lifespan of building exteriors.

With its 48,000 square-foot headquarters based in Brogue, central Pennsylvania, River Supply’s project footprint covers vast swathes of America. In fact, a nifty map of the U.S. on its website is peppered with brightly-colored pegs showing where its teams have delivered its product. Washington to Florida, Arizona to Illinois, you’ll find River Supply products on construction sites across the country.

Mainly known for its energetic, cutting-edge approach to the design and fabrication of wall and roof cladding, River Supply also deals in exterior construction materials and supplies. This is a team which really puts itself out to satisfy customer needs quickly, and customers are as likely to be assisted by Tim Bratton, vice president, as by any of its estimators.

Turnkey services
Hands-on involvement is only one reason why the company is trusted for quality service by some of the country’s leading architects and contractors in glass and glazing, roofing, and specialty wall cladding.

River Supply’s turnkey services further include shop drawings, design and development support, engineering – a full bouquet. The company is also fully geared to assist with custom architectural metal elements as well as metal roofing, wall panels, soffits for roof overhangs; custom coping for exterior walls; gutters; and downspouts.

Then there is its extensive list of protective products. This includes snow guards that mitigate the dangers of small avalanches sliding off rooftops, as well as sealants and underlayment for roofs to prevent water damage, and so on.

In its efforts to satisfy the entire range of client requirements, River Supply has basically created a one-stop experience where all customer needs are met with high-quality products and services from a single source. To achieve this, it teamed up with some of the most trusted brands in the industry. These include names such as Fabral, Atas, Morin, Kingspan, and more.

All for a wall
Its wall panel section has two main subdivisions. The best-known of these is RSI Panels, which fabricates aluminum composite material (ACM) paneling. A factory-manufactured panel consisting of metal skins bonded to both faces of a solid plastic core, the core material generally falls into either a “standard” or a “fire resistive” core.

River Supply also fabricates TRESPA® panel systems for clients throughout the country. Lastly, it fabricates Equitone, a through-colored façade material that consists of cement, cellulose and mineral materials, reinforced by a visible matrix.

River Supply’s second big subdivision,, is its online retail distribution platform that trades in TRESPA® and Trespa® Meteon® cladding panels throughout the country. These are made of a high-pressure laminate (HPL) consisting of as much as 70% natural fiber that is combined with thermosetting resins. Thanks to its innovative design, durability, and color options, the product can be applied in a myriad of different design options.

The value of teamwork
Starting out as part of another company about 15 years ago, Joe Nolan (now President of River Supply) and Tim Bratton decided to partner up in 2013. Tim describes these days with good humor. ”In the early days it was basically Joe, a CNC router table and I,” he says.

Over time, the company’s equipment collection grew alongside its customer base – and so did its team. Tellingly, the way the two dedicated founders of the company tell the story, the most special part is that most of the earliest employees are still with River Supply.

Growth has been wisely controlled and kept to a steady pace, with over thirty staff members, two (going on three) computer numerical control (CNC) routers, and more new equipment creating the basis of its quality product output. “We’ve built our business structure around a team environment that everyone is part of. Nobody’s just an employee. We all celebrate our successes together – whether it is at company meetings or events,” says Joe Nolan.

Up to standard
With robust growth shaping the company’s development, there have been many proud moments along the way. In 2017, the River Supply was announced as the fastest growing distributor of the Trespa® Meteon® range. In addition, it has received its ACM suppliers’ outstanding achievement award annually for the past 5 years. The movers and shakers at River Supply have also made central Pennsylvania’s list of ‘Top 50 fastest growing companies’, four years in a row – a fantastic achievement.

And, to ensure that its clients benefit from the best in American industry – both in quality and safety, River Supply is partnered with the top associations in its industry. It belongs to the Metal Construction Association (MCA); the Keystone, Metro Washington, Baltimore Metro chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC); as well as the Blue Book Building & Construction Network. Another priority is attending as many industry expositions as possible – staying informed on product and equipment developments.

Proud projects
One of River Supply’s most memorable projects is a state-of-the-art building envelope for the Pennsylvania National Guard’s largest ever military construction project. The daring design of its 95,000 square foot Aviation Maintenance Instructional Building in Annville, Pennsylvania, features around 50,000 square feet of strikingly unusual cladding in smooth, curved ACM panels and a whole lot of style. The project includes 77,000 square feet of flat roofing.

Another such project was completed for Carlisle Construction Materials. The company’s 42,000 square-foot Research and Innovation Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania is clad in around 3,000 square feet of staggered ACM panels of various hues of grays and blues. River Supply also provided around 6,000 square feet of insulated metal wall panels in sapphire blue. In addition, it supplied another 2,600 square feet of single-skin metal wall-panels.

Then there is Temple University’s Vantage Student Housing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here, 470,000 square feet of resort-style student living features 368 sophisticated dwellings in towers that vary from 12 to 18 stories. The development also offers 40,000 square feet of retail space and 94 basement parking bays. River Supply was responsible for providing the project with 38,600 Square Feet of ACM panel systems in a variety of colors. This project also features the single-skin metal wall-panel system, an installation of around 24,500 square feet.

Ahead of the trends
River Supply’s hard work and controlled development has culminated in it being the perfect, functional size and shape. Big enough to deliver, small enough to care and make it count, the company’s view of the future is visionary yet pragmatic, like its approach to business.

River Supply is committed to staying ahead of trends by truly understanding what new products offer in terms of their quality and applications. “There’s a trend of having multiple materials on buildings. [This] plays in well with River Supply’s offering of so many different products. We really offer our clients a [great] service,” says Tim.

Its next move is southwest. River Supply is planning its next facility in Nashville, Tennessee, and from there moving further west. With the cladding industry estimated to reach over $341 billion by 2026, River Supply seems to be heading in the right direction.



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